Friday, August 27, 2010

Follow Friday: releases 60 million yearbook images

Today's news release from announced the release of more than 60 million school yearbook images available on the site. I rushed right in to Ancestry's card catalog and immediately bookmarked the yearbook search page. I began going through the browse feature, one step at a time > Nebraska > Lincoln > Lincoln Northeast.

Oh my goodness! Was it true? Yes, the 1968 edition of The Rocket was right there before my eyes. Not that I needed any reminders of the page images before me on Ancestry. I was on the staff of The Rocket and between September 1967 until May of 1968, I lived and breathed The Rocket yearbook. I was intent on a career in writing and journalism, but rather than apply to be on the staff of The Northeastern, I applied to be on the yearbook staff instead. Why? Because I figured that a yearbook would last through time, unlike the newspapers that would likely be thrown away. After finding the entire 1968 Rocket available online, I'm beginning to question the decision I made as a 17 year old! Who in their right mind really wants their high school yearbook photos available for the world to see?

Well, I am still a writer and still consider myself a journalist even though I didn't follow my original dream of going into newspaper reporting or broadcasting. And as a genealogist, I have to accept the facts, warts and all. And that is why I've decided to share some of those hideous photographs from The Rocket with my blog readers and to set the record straight about some of the images. And having reached another birthday milestone that ends in a Zero yesterday, there's just not anything that embarrasses me anymoe.

Here's my senior photo as it appeared in the yearbook. I hated it then and I hate it now. Dig those vintage cats-eye glasses!

The Back Story: I had a really nice senior photo that was much better. In 1968, we still lived by rules, dress codes and there were strict requirements on the attire that we wore in our yearbook photographs. Girls had to wear black/dark sweaters and a plain necklace. Can you believe it! The guys had to wear jackets and ties. One fellow turned in his photo wearing a plaid jacket. I thought our yearbook advisor, Mrs. Marlys Hughes (whom I loved dearly) would go through the roof. Rather than having the photo taken over, she pulled out her equivalent of what would be today's black Sharpie and marked up his jacket. Another girl didn't wear the required necklace, so Mrs. Hughes painted one on with white-out. Did ya think no one would notice these touch-ups? A friend and I got caught in this game as the studio where we had our photos taken used a backdrop that was too dark for the yearbook photos. We had to have our photos retaken with the correct backdrop. No choices to select from this time around - we got one and only one pose. I had just finished being in the school play, during which we were instructed to NOT cut our hair so it would fit with the vintage roles were were playing. I hated how long and stringy my hair had become that I immediately had it cut very short. It was just beginning to grow back in when I had this photo taken. I hated it then and I hate it now because the rules all seem so silly.

Here's a photograph that was taken for the section on the guidance counselors and home room.

The Back Story: The photographer needed six students to pose with Mr. Crosier, so the six of us shown jumped at the chance. Read the caption: "Tardy students" and "guilty persons" Ack! I had never been tardy for anything in my entire life, and right there in the yearbook, for all to see, I am labeled as tardy and guilty. Well, that look on my face makes me look guilty! It's called ACTING!

That brings me around to my short-lived acting career.

The Back Story: Here I am in the cast of Ruth and Augustus Goetz's The Heiress, which we produced in the fall of 1967. I suppose I thought I was going to get into method acting and immediately went to the original source material, Henry James' Washington Square. To learn that my character, Maria, the maid, wasn't even in the original work was more than a little disappointing. The only reason I tried out for that particular part was because it had the fewest lines to memorize. I always had visions of going into musical theater, as I knew all of the songs from West Side Story, Oklahoma, South Pacific, Bye Bye Birdie - you name it. There was one small problem - I could not carry a tune if my life depended on it. That seemed so unfair because I knew all the lyrics! The director of the play was Mr. Jim Putnam, who was my drama teacher and I really liked him a lot. Our paths crossed again ten to 15 years ago. We got reacquainted and one day I told him that he had been one of the best teachers I'd ever had. He was rather shocked and told me that when I knew him, it was his first year of teaching! He retired last year after a long career in education. I didn't do any more acting, but still feel that the speech and drama classes provided a good solid foundation for the training and public speaking that I do today.

International Club - This was a group interested in learning about other countries and languages. I'm in the front row wearing the sweater with the diamond design.

The Back Story: A lot of us joined just so we could have another activity listed next to our senior picture in the yearbook!

Here I am (sitting) as one of the activities editors of The Rocket.

The Back Story: That's the long stringy hairdo I mentioned earlier that I could hardly wait to get cut as soon as
The Heiress was over. Working on The Rocket was undoubtedly the best part of my senior year in high school. It was a project I was totally passionate about. It gave me some experience in writing, layout, printing, production of a real book - skills that transferred to my study of journalism at the University of Nebraska and skills that remain with me today. The technology has changed, but the basics were all right there all those years ago.

From Sue to Susan, The Back Story: I was never too keen on the shortened version of my name. I had always been Susan until junior high school when one of my teachers took it upon herself to begin calling me Sue. Not knowing that I could object, it stayed with me for way too many years. At least over the past 25 years, I think I've managed to get across the message that I prefer to be called Susan, although a few very old friends still know me as Sue.

Maybe this blog post is a little over indulgent, but how many times do you find yourself in a database on And besides, I wanted some of my new genealogy friends to see that I really used to be thin! LOL.

So - take a look at the new additions to the yearbook database on I'm looking forward to reading what other bloggers find buried in that treasure!

1 comment:

  1. Boy were you lucky or unlucky, depending on how you feel about the photos, but I think they were nice and you were lucky to find them. What fun. And you were an actress to boot! Thanks for sharing these...I couldn't find any for me or anybody else for that matter.